Mum-of-two with terminal breast cancer holds her own wake ‘to say goodbye’ to loved ones
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A mum-of-two, who has been told that she only has months left to live, has hosted her own wake to create good memories for her family.
Heather Bone named the occasion “wake me up before you go-go" which was attended by her whole family.
Doctors initially dismissed unusual swelling in her hand
The 40-year-old was put through a horrific ordeal when in 2019, doctors first dismissed an unusual swelling in her hand which scans later revealed was a symptom of cancer.
She said: "They just sent me home and said to come back if it gets worse. I came back the next day as the swelling had gone up.
"They told me they couldn't find anything wrong."
She was given antibiotics but the swelling continued to get worse and eventually spread to her breast.
She said: "I was sent for a two-week referral scan for breast cancer. By that time, my breast was massively swollen.
"They found I had inflammatory breast cancer. I had my chemo, radiotherapy and surgery to remove the breast."
In 2018, Heather married her partner of 17-years, Daniel, at St Peter's Church in Selsey, Sussex.
Having been given the all-clear in May 2020, she celebrated her 40th birthday during lockdown.
But by October, she was told that the cancer had come back but was now in her brain and she may now only have weeks to live.
‘Intimate’ wake attended by whole family
Instead of shrinking at the idea of her death, fun-loving Heather organised and attended her own wake which she called her "wake me up before I go-go."
Her whole family attended the "intimate" occasion which, thanks to the kindness of strangers, she barely paid a penny for.
She appeared on This Morning where he won the dosh on your doorstep competition of £1,000 which she put towards the wake.
Presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were so moved they donated another £1,000 from the show to add to the party.
What could have been a sombre occasion was a celebration of her life and a chance to make memories with her family.
She was given two cakes, handmade by Bake-Off 2020 finalist Laura Adlington and cakemaker Cake Girl London.
Guests also enjoyed free drinks courtesy of Iceland, which gave Heather a £700 voucher, and a singer who offered his services for free.
‘I wanted people to be able to say goodbye’
She said: "I would hate to think people were having a party on my behalf without me - I want to join in the party.
"I wanted people to be able to say goodbye. I hate it when you go to a funeral and you can't say goodbye.
"During Covid there were people who were dying and people couldn't say goodbye to them so I just think I want to say goodbye to people and have a dance with them.
"I want people to be happy, I don't want it to be a sad thing and I want people to have fun.
"It will give my kids some positivity, they're so young and I don't want them to dwell on things.I want them to remember the good times.
"I'm not scared of dying but I'm scared of leaving my kids."
Heather said she is an 'open book' and has fully explained the situation to her two sons, Lewis and Marcus 15 and 16.
She said: "They have known since day one. I tell them everything. I try to talk to them as much as I can.
"My 16-year-old is doing his GCSEs this year. It's hard but they are doing alright."
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and very aggressive disease in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.
This type of breast cancer is called 'inflammatory' because the breast often looks swollen and red, or inflamed.
Heather, who has been documenting her journey on social media, has encouraged people to 'check yourself' adding: "If you know within your body, that there is something wrong, don't let the doctors tell you otherwise.
"If I had accepted that they told me it was an infection, I probably would have been dead by now.
"About one to five per cent of people who have breast cancer have Inflammatory breast cancer and it is the fastest growing type.
"Doctors don't know enough about inflammatory breast cancer unfortunately so it can be easily misdiagnosed.
"I also want to remind people to get insurance on yourself because I never did. In hindsight, I should have done."
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